Aussie sailing show of power ahead of Tokyo
AUSTRALIAN sailors are within striking distance of medals in three classes at the combined's sailing world championships in Denmark in a major show of power two years out from the Olympic Games.
The Australian team also appears likely to qualify around five boats for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 by the end of the regatta this weekend.
Perth sailor Matt Wearn, at 22 one of the youngest members of the team, on Wednesday moved into first place in the Laser class at the regatta after a day of frustratingly light winds and long delays.
Wearn, who won the European Laser championships earlier this year, is four points clear of his nearest rival and is Australia's best hope of winning a world title at the combined classes event.
"Good results for myself, a pretty solid day, happy not to have a big drop going into the last day before the medal race. That's always a good thing," Wearn said.
"It was a long time sitting in the sun. The first race was probably a bit marginal in the conditions we had, but they did the best job they could. They moved the course, which ended up being a really good idea, and the second race was fantastic.
"I'm looking to just build throughout the event and hopefully I'll hold that [lead] for the next couple of days."
London Olympic champion Mat Belcher and his crew Will Ryan, who he won silver with at the Rio Olympics, are also in the medal hunt, placed third overall in the 470 class.
Sydney sailors Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin are the third crew in with a shot of medal success, in third place in the Nacra 17 mixed class.
"We are hopeful of three podiums and two or three others finishing in the top 10 in other classes,'' said Sailing Australia team boss Iain Murray earlier this week.
Will Phillips and stand-in crew Iain Jensen, who won gold with Nathan Outteridge at the London Olympics, are in seventh class in the 49er class with young guns Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot also seventh in the 49er FX in a great result for the youngest team representing Australia.
The results in the Finn class have been disappointing with no Australian sailor a chance to even crack the top 10.